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SMALL BUSINESS: Small Businesses Find Support in Black Business Council


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According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, South Africa ranks alongside Romania and the Gaza Strip for the number of start-ups that survive past the three and a half year mark. Given that the Department of Trade and IndustryÂ’s Annual Review of Small Business in South Africa attributed a gross value of between R493 billion and R572 billion in 2006 to micro and small enterprises, the economic and social value of small businesses is evident, with more needing to be done to support fledgling entrepreneurs.

BBCÂ’s Top Priority is Economic Transformation

This view has been echoed by the recently-launched Black Business Council, which brings together several leading Black business and professional organisations. According to Mr Lawrence Mavundla, Deputy President of the Council, "Economic transformation and inclusion is a top priority for the BBC." It is for this reason that the Council has voiced its full backing for the 37th International Small Business Congress (ISBC), which is scheduled to take place in Johannesburg from 15-18 September this year - the first ever to be held in Africa in the Congress' history.

"By creating opportunities for economic participation for large numbers of individuals, either as business owners or employees, small businesses play a central role in driving economic transformation. Recognising this critical role, the 2012 Congress will provide an important platform to exchange ideas and best practices in small business development efforts globally”, believes Mavundla.

Support policies, programmes and approaches around the world will come under close scrutiny at the Congress, and key lessons will be learnt that will contribute to improving current practices in small business promotion in South Africa and elsewhere. "We welcome the opportunity to host our peers from around the world to discuss this important aspect of the global economy - the fostering of vibrant, growing and job-creating small businesses. We encourage both entrepreneurs and providers of small business support to make maximum use of this unique opportunity," says Mavundla.

Africa Recognised in the Growing Importance in World Economy

In holding the global event in Africa for the first time in the Congress's thirty-eight year history, the international small business community has made an unequivocal statement that it recognises Africa's growing importance in the world economy, contends Septi Bukula, director of the Congress. "With the theme: 'Fostering small business in new and high-potential industries worldwide', this Congress is a clear call to African SMEs and their international counterparts to set their sights on doing business and pursuing growth opportunities on the global stage."

To maximise the benefits of the Congress for all participants, the event has two components. The conference element will provide ample opportunities for entrepreneurs and small businesses to learn from world experts about promotion, as they discuss their experiences and share insights on the possibilities and pitfalls to be aware of.

Small business owners will also benefit from a range of practical sessions and workshops focusing on various aspects of business strategy, such as using technology to build competitiveness, human resource development, inter-firm collaboration and networking and business sustainability. The Congress exhibition will showcase a variety of small business support programmes and goods and services offered by small businesses to both the domestic and international audiences that will be in attendance at the Congress.

"The Congress will not just be another talk-shop. It will be an enriching experience for entrepreneurs, policymakers, researchers and small business support practitioners alike. Our aim is to ensure that what is learnt at the Congress influences South Africa's small business policies and programmes in a practical and meaningful way," concludes Mavundla. “The support of role players such as the Department of Trade and Industry, the Small Enterprise Development Agency and various partners and sponsors highlights the clear commitment from all quarters to strengthening and growing the country's small business sector.”

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